Activity 4: Playtime

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Playtime is essential for building social skills, and it is a wonderful time for children to learn how to express themselves, work out problems, make choices, and build self-confidence.

Friends & Family: Activity 4

playtime3Benefits for Your Child:

  • Shares feelings and ideas
  • Takes turns
  • Shares toys/materials
  • Compromises
  • Follows rules

Playtime is essential for building social skills. It is a wonderful time for children to learn how to express themselves, work out problems, make choices, and build self-confidence. Provide your child with a balanced amount of structured and free playtime.

Kindergarten Connection tooltip

Playing nicely with other children of similar age is a necessary skill to be successful in a classroom.

Activity: Playtime

Encourage your child to pretend play with you. It is okay for you to make suggestions occasionally, but allow your child to take the lead. Take an active role in following your child’s lead. Include cleanup as part of play. This helps develop responsibility.

It is typical for children to finish playing and move on to something new without cleaning up. Help your child make cleanup quick and fun: “Let’s see who can pick up the most cars.” Sing a song as everyone helps.

If possible, set aside playtime when there will be few outside interruptions. Let your child choose what to play. Some ideas may sound silly, but talk with your child. You may be surprised at what he/she has in mind.

More Ideas:

  • Arrange a playdate, if possible, so that your child can interact with other children. Children relate differently with adults than they do with other children. For more playdate and play group ideas, go to the Ready! Set! School! Playgroup Connection page or call 1-866-782-8824.
  • On a poster board, help your child write rules for playtime with others (share our toys, clean up, use inside voices, have fun). Invite your child to draw illustrations to go along with the words.


  • If your child cannot think of something to play, offer suggestions. Role-play upcoming, real-life events such as going to school, going to the doctor, or visiting grandma’s house.
  • If your child has a hard time taking turns or sharing, you can say things like, “Your turn is after mine,” or “You can use this after I’m done.”

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Books: Playtime

I'm Gonna like Me:  Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis. This book looks to the source of what makes children feel comfortable in their own skin.

Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi. Teaches children to use their hands for fun and caring actions and to understand that hitting is never okay.

Playtime by Ronald Heuninck. A picture book with beautiful illustrations of children playing.

Complete Book List